by Maria C. Ramos Ed.D.

I was having a telephone conversation with my dear friend, as she waited for her flight to board. We’ve been friends since we were young girls or as she puts it “since we were blowing bubbles in the front yard”.  Over the years we have witnessed each other’s  life turns and those of our respective families. Family is always the first topic of conversation for we have chosen each other as sisters of the heart. It feels like home when we connect in the sense that there is a reciprocated feeling of being understood and nurtured.  Most often we connect via telephone since we live in different states, yet each time it’s just like we saw each other yesterday. Though we only see each other in person about once or twice a year when we go “home” for holidays and family visits.

Eventually, we began to talk about our careers, what we are engaged in and what’s next. She shared that early next year she will retire from her position as a career counselor. We talked about how something happens in the process of sorting through work files to discern what’s worth keeping and what to discard.   That something is the recognition of the transition you are making in your identity, a subtle but clear shifting to the answer of the question: “Who am I?”  “It’s time to hit the refresh button!” she said. How perfect I thought “the refresh button”. It was just marvelous to hear the optimism and enthusiasm held in that the phrase. She began to tell me how hitting the refresh button might shape her days to come. Her flight was boarding putting our conversation on pause, to be continued as we have done for decades.

Through out the rest of the day, I pondered, “hitting the refresh button”. Not the restart button because there is a lifetime of working wisdom to build upon. Not the sleep button, because you can’t nap on the rest of your life. Not the shut down button because there’s a lot of life left to live. Not the easy button, because moving to the third stage will take some serious adjustments. Nope she said, “It’s time to hit the refresh button”.  The notion brings to mind a remodeling or renovation of a house well built. It’s a refreshing perspective on taking the next steps in one of life’s major turning points. Brilliant!